Resource Management

Killdeer Eggs

The killdeer, a ground nesting bird, has a variety of defense tactics to protect its young.  Parents may pretend they are brooding chicks away from the nest site or feign an injury to lure predators away from the nest.  If that fails they may even attack the threat.

Wildlife and Habitat Management

Seney National Wildlife Refuge provides habitat for a wide variety of organisms in multiple habitats. More than 200 species of birds, 26 species of fish, 50 species of mammals, 22 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 420 plant species have been recorded on the Refuge. To maintain Refuge biodiversity, management is directed at preserving, conserving and restoring ecosystem patterns and processes.


Water levels are managed on more than 6,400 acres of Refuge pools, with levels manipulated to provide a variety of wetland conditions for plants and animals. By raising and lowering these water levels, natural wetland cycles are mimicked.


Forest management is conducted on the Refuge to maintain habitat diversity and to restore forest ecosystem structure and composition. In some areas harvests are combined with prescribed fires. Many areas of the Refuge are managed as reference stands, where cutting is not permitted.


The fire history at Seney Refuge is largely responsible for the diversity of trees, shrubs and plant life present. Lightning-caused fires naturally occurred during dry periods and created the present mix of community types. Today, prescribed fire and natural fire are used to maintain the Refuge's diversity.

Inventorying and Monitoring

Seney National Wildlife Refuge participates in a number of inventory and monitoring programs that help guide wildlife management actions by the Refuge and its conservation partners. Because most wildlife management is conducted indirectly by managing vegetation, the Refuge has a number of long-term vegetation monitoring plots established. Examples of monitoring programs that guide population-wide wildlife management goals and objectives include fall and spring Sandhill Crane Surveys, the American Woodcock Singing-ground Survey, and the U.S. Geological Survey's Breeding Bird Survey. Monitoring programs that aid our state partners include the Frog and Toad Survey, the Sharp-tailed Grouse Lek Survey, and the Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey.

Most inventory and monitoring data are provided to existing national, regional, or state databases. For the three bird species monitored on a yearly basis on Refuge pools (e.g., Common Loon, Osprey, Trumpeter Swan), these data are primarily used for Refuge purposes, but may be used by others if Seney National Wildlife Refuge is adequately acknowledged. Moreover, for Osprey data, the late Sergej Postupalsky should be duly acknowledged.  Contact Common Coast Research & Conservation for Common Loon monitoring data prior to 2014.

Trapping Occurs on This Refuge

Trapping is a wildlife management tool used on some National Wildlife Refuges. Trapping may be used to protect endangered and threatened species or migratory birds or to control certain wildlife populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also views trapping as a legitimate recreational and economic activity when there are harvestable surpluses of fur-bearing mammals. Outside of Alaska, refuges that permit trapping as a recreational use may require trappers to obtain a refuge Special Use Permit. Signs are posted on refuges where trapping occurs. Contact the Refuge Manager for specific regulations. Click here for more information.

At Seney National Wildlife Refuge only nuisance beaver and muskrat trapping are allowed by Special Use Permit.  Please see the rules and regulations for more information.


Learn more about the management of the refuge by reviewing the Seney National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan (2009), the Habitat Management Plan(2013), and the Inventory and Monitoring Plan (2016).